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Environmentally ‘Friendly’ Habits that Actually Harm the Planet

Limiting our impact on the environment is something that we can’t escape and rightly so. From the recent bush fires in Australia to the reminders of the plastic in our seas, none of our vital elements are safe from human impact.

Whilst many people believe that putting their waste in coloured bins means they have a clean conscious, many of the habits people are adopting have a worse impact on the environment than for the better. Read on to find out what habits could being doing more damage than good;

Biodegradable vs Compostable items

From bags to wipes, to even nappies, the term ‘biodegradable’ has been coined as something that’s good for our planet. Granted, there are some benefits to purchasing these over conventional plastics but they may not be as good as they seem.

Biodegradable is different from compostable and many contain additives, which, despite taking less time to break down, still have a life-span of 2-3 years. They also release their chemicals into the soil and water supplies which may contribute to the issues we’re already seeing.

Bioplastics are far more eco-friendly. These are made from corn starch, sugar cane or wheat and are far faster at breaking down than others with no nasty side effects.

Top Tip: Try using old t-shirts as cleaning clothes by cutting into squares and storing in a clean mason jar, or old flannel for reusable makeup pads. Kinder to the environment and your skin.

Plastic Bags vs Tote Bags

The controversial topic of plastic bags has been a hot topic since Blue Planet highlighted the affect single use plastic is having. Since then over 127 countries have banned plastic shopping bags but studies founded by Denmark’s ministry of environment and food, have since found that cotton totes aren’t providing the solution either.

Due to the manufacturing process, which causes harm to the ozone and affects climate change, the volume of water to make one bag is almost 3x the amount needed for plastic, so need to be used far more times before matching the effects of a plastic bag.

Whilst there is no definite solution of which carriers are better, reusing what you already have is a sure-fire way to stop both issues. Whether it’s reusing the plastic bags you’ve accumulated over the years, or a tote bag that’s still good after many years of use, reducing the manufacturing of either is best.

Batch cooking vs Single Portions

There can be no denying that mass cooking uses less energy than single cooking and can also work out far more cost-effective. However, the volume of waste that can occur from not properly storing food that’s batch cooked contributes to 7.1billion tonnes of household food waste that gets thrown away each year.

Making sure there’s room in the freezer and fridge, and not choosing other options instead of what’s been cooked can help to reduce what’s wasted and create the impact that was desired.

Top Tip: Meal plan your week and decide what you’re having. Whether you choose to batch cook certain meals, you’ll prevent buying more than you need and save wasting anything.

Whether you’re making changes to help with the environment or just for your own reasons, small efforts make a huge impact that future generations will be thankful for.